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TMCNet:  Alachua, Fla., Husband, Father to Ride on Rose Parade Float as Tissue Donation Recipient

[December 30, 2013]

Alachua, Fla., Husband, Father to Ride on Rose Parade Float as Tissue Donation Recipient

ALACHUA, Fla. --(Business Wire)--

An Alachua, Fla. husband and father will honor the lives of the thousands of individuals who gave the gift of life through organ and tissue donation as one of 30 transplant recipients riding a special float in the 2014 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1.

Allograft tissue recipient Harry Rambo will ride on the Donate Life Float in the 2014 Rose Bowl Para ...

Allograft tissue recipient Harry Rambo will ride on the Donate Life Float in the 2014 Rose Bowl Parade. (Photo: Business Wire)

Harry Rambo, an allograft tissue recipient, has been chosen as a rider on the Donate Life float in honor of the thousands of individuals who donate tissue including bone, skin, heart valves, connective tissue, veins and pericardium and those who receive life restoring tissue transplants each year. Harry's trip to Pasadena is sponsored by RTI Donor Services, a founding sponsor of the float and one of more than 140 associations across the nation - including organ and tissue recovery organizations, industry partners, transplant centers and transplant recipient groups - supporting the float project. This is RTI's 11th consecutive year supporting the program.

Harry Rambo's story began several years ago when he was skydiving from 9,000 feet. Strong wind conditions forced him to misjudge his landing, and he hit the ground at more than 25 miles per hour and shattered his right femur.

The point of impact was Harry's right hip. The head of the femur was separated from the bone, and the shaft was shattered. His doctor ued cancellous chips processed from a human donor to help rebuild his leg. Cancellous chips provide a scaffold for bone ingrowth and allow for remodeling with the patient's own bone.


"I was in the hospital for about a week after the surgery and had to use crutches for more than three months," Harry said. "I used a cane to walk for almost two years after that."

A few years after Harry's transplant, he began working for the University of Florida Tissue Bank (now RTI Surgical, headquartered in Alachua) who processes and sterilizes human donated tissue for the benefit of patients like Harry.

Harry's doctor restricted him from skydiving for two years. He later skydived into the groundbreaking for RTI's operations facility - a new building on RTI's Alachua, Fla. campus where the company would have more opportunities to maximize the gift of tissue donation.

It has been several years since Harry's transplant and he says he has lived pain-free. Harry received his transplant at a time when tissue transplantation was not as well known or understood as it is today.

"I am forever grateful to the donor and their family who helped to restore my life and allow me to return to the things that I love to do," Harry said. "I love working at RTI because I have the opportunity to help others in the same way that tissue transplantation has helped me."

The Donate Life float will present "Light up the World," featuring a festival of lanterns illuminating 30 riders and 12 living organ donors walking alongside the entire five-mile route. The float's five enormous lanterns are adorned with 78 memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors whose legacies of life shine brightly. The riders are seated throughout a dedication garden filled with thousands of roses bearing personal messages of love, hope and remembrance. The 125th Rose Parade will take place at 8 a.m. PST on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. For more information on the Donate Life float, visit the official website at www.donatelifefloat.org.

Today, more than 120,000 children and adults await life-saving organ transplants in the United States. Hundreds of thousands more are in need of a tissue transplant to save or greatly enhance the quality of their lives. Visit www.donatelife.net/register-now to find out how to designate your donation wishes in your state.

RTI Donor Services is a not-for-profit tissue recovery agency dedicated to serving donor families and working in collaboration with the donation community and healthcare facilities in perpetuating the gift of tissue donation.


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